Note: Among piercers and scientists, getting pierced to activate acupuncture points is a pseudoscience. Experts agree that any results from the piercings come from a placebo effect rather than any sort of acupuncture cure. However, there are a handful of people who claim that the piercings helped them. If you suffer from the below issues, we recommend that you talk to a medical professional for a more proven cure before you attempt to find relief through a piercing. If you decide to get pierced to try and relieve some of these issues, don’t blame your piercer if it doesn’t work; they are not acupuncturists, and there is no hard proof that piercings can help with these issues.
Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese treatment meant to relieve pain and even improve wellness. Acupuncturists poke needles into certain points to help balance the flow of energy within your body. In modern Western medicine, acupuncture is used to stimulate certain nerve endings to help relax your muscles, therefore reducing pain.
There’s a small group who believe that piercing these acupuncture points can permanently activate these areas, helping to relieve pain. As mentioned above, there is no scientific evidence to support these claims, but a quick Google search shows some anecdotal evidence (likely the result of a placebo effect).
If you’re curious about trying a piercing to activate an acupuncture point, here’s a brief guide.
What are acupuncture points?
There are over 300 acupuncture points in the body, each connected to 14 major channel lines. These lines lead to your major organs. In traditional Chinese medicine, it is believed that activating these points helped to balance your body by adjusting your energy flow, or qi.
Your qi—pronounced “chi”—flows through these pathways, and they can sometimes become imbalanced. Through acupuncture, these flows can be reopened, which in theory, can treat many issues in the body.
There are hundreds of acupuncture points in the body.
While Western medical professionals largely agree that acupuncture likely does not serve to treat any major maladies, the jury’s still out on whether or not acupuncture can help with pain relief.
Scientifically, acupuncture points appear in places where nerves and muscles can be stimulated, which could improve blood flow, relax the muscles, and aid your body’s natural painkillers. However, it’s unclear whether any positive result is a placebo or if acupuncture actually works.
How do piercings activate acupuncture points?
The theory behind using piercings to permanently activate acupuncture points is simple: the jewelry permanently opens the channel associated with that point, constantly encouraging the energy flow in that area. (Or, it permanently stimulates the nerves and muscles at that point.)
It seems to make sense; acupuncture consists of sticking needles in your body to activate certain points, so why not stick something in there permanently? However, an acupuncture session typically only lasts about 5 – 30 minutes, not forever. Therefore, many people who have claimed to find pain relief through a piercing have said that the relief eventually faded. Whether it’s because the placebo effect wore off or the acupuncture point was no longer stimulated, using a piercing to activate an acupuncture point is likely only a short term solution, if it works at all.
Will my piercing solve my issue?
The short answer is probably not.
While many people claim that their piercing has helped resolve an issue (usually in regards to chronic pain), their relief is likely a placebo. Even then, many of those who experienced pain relief have reported that the pain later returned, suggesting that the piercing is not a permanent solution.
Although piercings, like the tragus, are said to help with pain or even food cravings, results are likely due to a placebo effect.
As long as you understand that a piercing is not a scientifically valid cure for the problem that you’re trying to fix, and you enjoy the aesthetic of the piercing, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t try the piercing out. The worst that can happen is that you experience no pain relief (which is likely), but you’re left with an adorable new piercing.
Which piercings (supposedly) help with pain?
Now that we’ve addressed acupuncture points, it’s time to talk about the piercings that are placed there.
The daith for migraines
It’s believed that the area where the daith is pierced can help relieve chronic migraines. Some claim that, once they got their daith pierced, they noticed that they got fewer migraines, and some said that they felt less migraine pain.
This acupuncture point is also used to relieve tension caused by anxiety, and some claim that it has helped reduce their stress and anxiety levels.
The tragus for sugar cravings/appetite control
If you’re trying to lose weight, an acupuncturist might tell you to activate your tragus area. It’s said that this point helps control sugar cravings and/or your overall appetite.
The conch for muscle relaxation/chronic pain
The conch area is used to relax the muscles which will relieve any chronic pain associated with that tension. If you’re one to feel constantly tensed, then you might benefit from this as well.
If you’re looking to activate an acupuncture point, the ear is the best place to try.
The rook relieves stress
For those who are looking for a spiritual way to reduce their feelings of stress, the rook piercing might be something to try. It is placed at an acupuncture point to fix the flow of energy associated with stress.
Ear piercings in general
If you’re interested in finding pain relief through acupuncture, ear piercings are believed to have the most benefits. The ear has many acupuncture points that can positively affect your qi, leading to better mental health and reduced pain.
What to do if you’re interested in getting pierced for pain management
If you want to give this “permanent acupuncture” a try, first you must realize that it’s an untested practice, and you might not feel any change at all. You should always consult a professional about any mental health or chronic pain issues. They’ll provide more viable solutions, and they’ll be able to diagnose anything more serious.
After you’ve talked to a medical professional, you should try to find a piercer with knowledge about acupuncture points. It’s a very niche area, so you might struggle to find someone, but they’ll better empathize with your situation, and they’ll be able to explain what your piercing will do for you from an acupuncture standpoint. However, the most important thing is that the piercer is reputable and fully certified. If you find a piercer who has the spiritual credentials, but they don’t have the piercing background, then opt for another piercer.
Any other reputable piercer will be able to do your piercing just fine. Keep in mind that it’s a very controversial idea, even in the piercing world, so depending on your piercer, you might get someone who has some negative opinions on the matter.
In the end, the most important thing is that you end up with a healthy, adorable piercing, whether or not you find the pain relief that you seek. The worst-case scenario is that you end up with a cool addition to your style even if your issue goes unsolved. As long as you know that results aren’t guaranteed, why not give it a try?
Some cute jewelry to wear
Those who believe that piercings can improve your qi agree that you need to be careful about which metals you put in your piercings. The best is 14k gold or silver. If you’re trying to decide whether you want to try a piercing, here’s some adorable jewelry to help with your daydreaming.